Wednesday, 31 January 2018

My Forty-Fifth 17/18 Game - Coventry City vs Cambridge United

You'd like to think that Saturday was it wouldn't you? As if we'd completed football with a day as good as that. Saying that, it was only MK Dons after all... But after a bit of FA Cup fever had continued to the Monday night for the draw (What's everyone's opinion on Brighton by the way?) we got the sudden reality of "Oh god, we've got to go back to League Two football now." It was a must win game which pretty much came out of nowhere. It's an odd one, but I love a good night game. They're usually foul cold affairs but if you win you couldn't care less, it would be the same this time.

Coventry City Starting XI:



Dev. Kelly-Evans


Coventry City Substitutes: 


I hate games played right before a transfer deadline, because whoever isn't in the squad people automatically assume is leaving. However Ben Stevenson wasn't in the squad because he's leaving for Wolves (medical being done at the time of writing) but I don't think people are too bothered about it. We've got enough depth in that position and it's unfair to keep a lad with a bright future out of the side when teams come knocking. The one people did go mental about was Jordan Willis, a man who's name gets thrown about every single Deadline Day without fail. In the post-match press conference Mark Robins almost literally spat in the face of the journalist who asked the question. He's not going anywhere.

First Half

I was slightly tentative to see how the hardest centre back pairing in the league would get on, Davies and McDonald are great defenders but that's as far as it goes really. With Willis you've got a bit of a ball playing footballer, I imagined they would accidentally kill someone with their sixth hoof of the match. That nearly happened when Tom Davies slaughtered one right into Tom Bayliss' face later in the first half. Weirdly though we actually got off to a good start and did indeed manage to carry forward the momentum from the FA Cup.

It took us just 10 minutes to break the deadlock, Marc McNulty found himself with the ball on the edge of the area and did what he does best. He side footed into the far bottom corner. It's just not fair anymore, it's like he's not even trying and still he can spank a goal or two in ever game. That's his ninth in our last 8 home games and is 14th overall this season, quite something considering most of them have come since the end of November. Maybe he really is that 20 goal a season striker Robins insisted he would be.

We didn't really do much for a bit until we popped up with another goal around the half hour mark, on the right McNulty found himself marked and too tight an angle to shoot so he looped a perfect cross to the back post where Shipley was waiting. By no means was it easy from here, Shippers floated it back across goal with the keeper scrambling back but getting nowhere near it. Top corner. 2-0. EZEH. EZEH. EZEH. Saying that there were a few scares towards the end of the half but Burgey pulled off a couple of great saves to deny Ikpezeau.

Half Time - Coventry City 2-0 Cambridge United

Second Half

Thankfully unlike Swindon we managed to carry our lead to half time at least, which made the first 15 minutes or so of the second period ten times less nervy. As we edged closer to the hour mark however there was a sigh of relief when the referee didn't blow for a penalty when Ikpezeau went down from a Grimmer push. Not to go all Wenger on you all, but I honestly didn't see it so I can't comment, from what I hear it probably was though. Scary times.

Even though we were treading water as if the game was already won, we did have a chance to absolutely put it to bed thanks to a quick free kick. McNulty himself was shocked he got the ball in such space about 5 yards out so tried to make it harder for himself by waiting for the last defender and then cutting back past him. It was a poor touch and they cleared, really he should have just leathered it without looking. He's better at the harder chances is our Sparky, we're really beginning to see that as the games go on.

Cambridge certainly had a better second half than first, either that or our squad was just having party time thinking they'd won the league. Either way it came back to bite us with 5 minutes left, from a corner George Taft leapt highest and rocketed a header in so Burge could barely get a touch on it. It was impossible to keep it out. See we got a bit scared again here, we were time wasting, hoofing it as far into the stand as humanely possible. We stopped for a second in injury time as it was just silly, Biamou found himself free to roam on the right and played in McNulty in the box, he completely missed the ball in a comical yet perfect miskick. It made its way to skipper Michael Doyle who kicked a ball harder than any man has kicked before and before you know it, we've seen off the game and it's 3-1.

Full Time - Coventry City 3-1 Cambridge United

Another big, yet routine victory, we're going to need a few more of these before the end of the season, leave the big games for playing the big games and have no hiccups against the smaller ones. Remarkably that's 7 home wins on the bounce, it's away we're going to need to pick up form. Starting with Forest Green on Saturday, I'm keen to try out some of their fine vegan cuisine, not even joking, I'm quite curious. That's if I find a ticket.

My Man of the Match - Michael Doyle - No one was massively standout but everyone was quite good so I thought I'd turn to Doyle as sort of an appreciation to the bloke. He's the only one to play every league minute so far and is basically just a Coventry City legend. There, I said the words, they're out there, try and take them away from me. I dare you.

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